From laptops to tablets and smartphones, educational institutes like schools and colleges across the world are testing out ane-learning environment, where pupils bring and use their choice of technologically equipped devices in the classroom. Though the benefits seem obvious, the influx of mobile technology in educational system has also provoked criticism from parents and teachers alike, similar to the BYOD recoil witnessed within software development companies in the past few years.
Educational institutes are finally presented with two options:
- Adopting a BYOD program, moving along with the technology, inspiring student participation, and changing the curriculum to include BYOD-driven topics.
- To levy of a BYOD policy, setting guidelines to govern the presence and practice of these potentially trouble-causing devices.
Parents site the probable negative impact of allowing freed digital connectivity in schools. No parent would argue for open and unmonitored online access for kids of any age. Some of the concerns are:
- Distractions of online video games.
- Excessiveusage of social networking sites leading to victimization or predation
- Download (and creation) of inappropriate content
- Social status and humiliation of devices
But have a look at the other side of the coin. The latest incarnation in the tablet and smartphone makes the information uprisingmore personal and omnipresent, certainly. The smartphone’s connectivity and portability gives us anindication of IOT.
The influence of these devices on the lives of grownups and children of today is astonishing but this is just the beginning. We are experiencing a wave of invention in digital devices. Consider the clues of the next generation that are already coming to life in wearable devices like Google Glass.
In this decade, it is as much important to teach children how to use their other device’s “brains” as it is to teach them to use their physical brains — to ignore such an obvious and powerful growth would be careless. Certainly there are more efficient ways to use digital devices to make us more effective beings and these better ways should be taught.
So how are teachers and administrators going to handle the risks of freed online access with the responsibility to teach students how to leverage this inimitable technology? Here are some of the solutions to this:
- Look to lessons learnt in the parallel adoption of desktop computers by the software development companiesfor patterns and best-practices for adaptation.
- Search for tools to manage content access to block for children and to advice for older users.
- Surround the access points of these devices with security and not only the devices themselves.
- Leverage the speed of these new technologies to learn and participate in experiments with innovative institutions in the digital world.
Support the local school in their efforts with BYOD and technology ingenuities. Connecting technology with learning in the minds of the children is an important inner link to establish. These are not just tools for playing games. Help the children to expand their association with the devices beyond the short-attention span media that they are meeting in the entertainment arena by exposing them to deeper, quieter sources of interaction like e-books. Demonstrate that these devices can be used for knowledge gaining and knowledge distribution. Parents should show them how to manage work-life balance with the help of these devices.
By acknowledging that smartphones, tablets, and laptops arerealistic components in the lives of every human being and by accepting it openly and actively in the exploratory use of these tools for education, we are opening the door for our students that leads to the core of the 21st century experience.